Review in Uberrock (UK) | Press | Privet Earth
Review in Uberrock (UK)

Friday, 08 July 2011 05:30

A classically trained pianist that left his native Russia to find his Big Rock Dream in LA, Smirnov is a man with a lot of ideas and occasionally, he hits the mark.

This album is packed with orchestral backing, twiddly nuances and awkwardness but through it all, somehow, he does make it work. It reminded me of sitting in a Swedish hotel, pissed up watching the local TV - In the UK we'd get some bland crap like Elbow or The Feeling, they get this sort of stuff as standard.

It's got that eclectic feel that's maybe a bit too wayward for most tastes as he incorporates his love for classical, orchestral, balladry and occasionally all out ROCK. Never afraid to mix it up, Smirnov relishes in the writing of epic numbers that sway from side to side and up and down with whatever will he wants.

Straight up songs like 'A Phuken Angel' and 'She Dreams Big' are good, solid no nonsense slices of ROCK and the former song in particular is a highlight of this disc. Elsewhere he indulges his sadness and piano technique with aplomb with the Grammy nominated 'The Saddest Boy In The World' or 'The Sunshine Never Cries ' - a song that you'll either appreciate it for its beautiful depth or it'll make you want to slit your wrists and curl up in the foetal position.

'All I Ask' is pure 70s disco rock that The Scissor Sisters would be proud of and '12000 Miles Away' is pure American teen movie fodder, whilst the opening two orchestral backed tracks, 'Ice Orkestra' and 'Forest Queen', you can imagine hearing on a random TV advert. The ad execs will love this St Petersburg rock answer to Moby.

I read the promo stuff that came with this Cd and, I'll be honest, I rolled my eyes and cursed the Uber post master but, although I'm not going to be massively playing this to death, Smirnov has made an album that conjures up images and provokes the mind into probing your senses and I can only applaud him for that.

Fans of Steve Wilson and Porcupine Tree will probably love it, fans of Faster Pussycat and Iron Maiden won't.

Ross Welford